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News for 2013, September - Show latest items

Some questions about nets and vaccines

We were recently asked several questions and felt the questions and our comments might be of interest to a wider audience.

  1. Bed nets protect at night. What about during the day? 
    The overwhelming majority of malaria-carrying mosquitoes bite at night, typically between 10pm and 2am. Hence the importance and effectiveness of the net.

  2. In your opinion, is donating to malaria vaccine development more or less worthy than donating to LLIN distribution, and why? 
    I'd stick to a fact and a hope. The fact is that if enough bednets were deployed and continued to be used so universal coverage of communities is achieved – eminently achievable if the funds were there – then we can dramatically reduce the level of malaria and, broadly speaking, bring malaria 'under control'. That does not mean elimination as that is a specific scientific term, but 'under control' means a level of malaria that is an order of magnitude, if not several orders of magnitude, below what it is today. A hope is that a vaccine will be found. Finding one has proved, and is proving, very difficult indeed. Finding one requires research and that requires money so I am fully supportive of all and every attempt to find a vaccine. If one were found, it would have a dramatic impact on the fight against malaria. There are a number of groups and very wealthy philanthropists who have made significant donations to vaccine research work. So, eggs in two baskets, not one. If I have to personally decide where I place my $100 donation, now? Bednets to protect people, now. Our most recent vaccine update.


US$20 million milestone passed!

We have now passed the US$20 million mark, thanks to a donation from Arlington, Virginia, USA!
We also had our 71,000th donation too - from Glasgow, Scotland! Our sincere thanks to everyone for their support and generosity.
You can see all our milestones on the website, where we will be providing news shortly on the allocation of funds to specific distributions.

A very good TED talk from Sonia Shah

A very good TED talk from Sonia Shah: a malaria 101 also covering 'why aren’t we rid of malaria yet?'


Q&A on resistance to main drug used to treat malaria (artemisinin)

There is a good summary here: Q&A on artemisinin resistance 

Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the main drugs used to treat malaria. In the majority of the world they work. In some parts of Asia resistance to ACTs has been seen because some strains of malaria are resistant to artemisinin. This is not good. There are five different ACTs and if one does not treat a particular patient, the patient is still cured as part of a longer treatment regimen, provided they are treated with an ACT containing a partner drug that is effective in that geographical area. So far, resistance is confined to four South-East Asian countries: Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, all in the Greater Mekong subregion.

Geographic containment efforts may slow the spread of artemisinin resistance. A solution to artemisinin resistance is likely to require new malaria drugs not based on artemisinin.

Scientists have developed a simple, rapid blood test to determine the malaria parasite's resistance to artemisinin. This can help identify patients who need a second ACT to help them recover from malaria.

One implication of the reduction in efficacy of drugs to treat malaria is the need to work harder and faster to bring malaria under control so fewer people are at risk. And that’s where bednets come in.


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